Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz.

Borrowed from my local public library.

**** "Extraordinary!"

From the back cover: "Meet the Deans. 'The fact is, the whole of Australia despises my father more than any other man, just as they adore my uncle more than any other man. I might as well set the story straight about both of them.' Heroes or criminals? Crackpots or visionaries? Relatives or enemies? It's a simple family story..."

This book is almost dauntingly long, coming in at over 700 pages. It's a convoluted, meandering tale of adventure, with the most unbelievable events and unimaginable characters. And it's funny! I found myself wanting to commit the spectacularly inventive imagery to memory. As I read, I wanted someone beside me that I could read particularly appealing passages to, to share my delight. Reading this book, I never once forgot that I was reading a work of fiction. It never once drew me in so that I believed that what I was reading was real, and I didn't care. I was having too much fun enjoying the demented narrative, the disturbingly original metaphors, and the narrator's commentary on life.

Will you enjoy this book? I think that in some ways, this book is quintessentially Australian, and would be hard to truly grasp for non-Australians. There are a lot of references to Australian culture and history. And I think you have to have a soft spot for the ridiculous to enjoy this one.

I'd love to read something else that Toltz writes to see how he attacks a different story.

1 comment:

Cass said...

Maybe this says something about me, but despite being an ignorant-of-Australian-culture American, I kind of want to read this because of the cover. It's amazing.